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D 11604-11607



The University of Texas at Austin
Main Building, Room 212
Monday, May 5, 2014
immediately following the special
2014-15 Faculty Council meeting


  1. REPORT OF THE SECRETARY (D 11592-11603)—Dean Neikirk (professor, electrical and computer engineering).

    1. Minutes of the Regular Faculty Council Meeting of April 14, 2014 (D 11574-11591).

    1. Comments by the President.
    2. Questions to the President (See Appendix A).

  4. REPORT OF THE CHAIR— Hillary Hart (distinguished senior lecturer, civil, architectural, and environmental engineering).

  5. REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT—William Beckner (professor, mathematics).


    1. Proposal to Change the Twenty-Four of the Last Thirty Semester Hours Rule in the General Requirements Section of the Undergraduate Catalog, 2014-2016 (D 11521-11523)—Mary Rose (committee chair, sociology).
    2. Required and Proposed Revisions to the Extended Course Evaluation Form (D 11524-11527)—Mary Rose.
    3. Proposal from the University Academic Calendar Committee to Extend the Thanksgiving Break (D 11508-11512)—Hans Hofmann (committee chair and associate professor, integrative biology).
    4. Update on Shared Services from Vice President Kevin Hegarty.
    5. Proposal to Align Q-Drop and OTE Drop Policies: Academic Dishonesty (D 11516-11518)—Mary Rose.
    6. Proposal to Align Q-Drop and OTE Drop Policies: Encourage Students to Speak with Professors Before Dropping a Class (D 11519-11520)—Mary Rose.
    7. Resolution in Support of Consistent Foreign Language Pre-Requisite Requirement (D 11569-11570)—Mary Rose.
    8. 2014-2015 Faculty Council Schedule (D 11562)—Hillary Hart.
    9. Cancellation of Summer Meetings (D 11563)—Hillary Hart.

    1. Continuing Council members submit standing committee preferences.
    2. Annual reports of the General Faculty Standing Committees are due.


Dean Neikirk's signature
Dean Neikirk, Secretary
General Faculty and Faculty Council

Posted on the Faculty Council website on April 28, 2014.

1On April 29, 2014, New Business items were reordered, and Professors Dana Cloud and Snehal Shingavi withdrew their resolution on Shared Services (D 11564).
Appendix A
Questions to the President
  1. Question submitted by the Committee on Financial Aid to Students.
    Dear President Powers,     
    April 11, 2014                   
    In an attempt to increase four-year graduation rates, in 2012 U.T. Austin began to use the software program “Dashboard” as a basis for awarding discretionary financial aid to all incoming freshman students for the academic year 2013-2014.  Since then, data from the U.T. Office of Student Financial Services (see the graph below) indicates there has been a significant decrease in the number of students from low-income families that received offers of discretionary aid and an increase in the number of discretionary aid offers to students from higher-income families.  Can you explain the decrease in the number of students from low-income families that receive discretionary financial aid offers from UT Austin since the implementation of Dashboard?

    discretionary aid offers

    The above chart shows the number of discretionary financial aid offers to incoming freshmen as a function of their family income.  The median family income in Texas is $51,000.  For the academic year 2011-2012 Dashboard was not used to determine discretionary aid offers and, of the 2342 offers made, 89% went to students whose family income was less that $60,000. For the academic year 2012-2013, Dashboard was used to determine discretionary aid offers for a small fraction of the students (less than 5%). Of the 3888 offers made, 83% went to students whose family income was less than $60,000.  For the academic year 2013-2014, Dashboard was used to determine all 2576 discretionary aid offers, and only 67% of the aid offers when to students with family income less than $60,000.

  2. Questions submitted by Professor Brian L. Evans (electrical and computer engineering), April 18, 2014.
    1. At a meeting on campus on April 7th, UT System Chancellor Cigarroa mentioned plans to expand undergraduate enrollments at the nine university campuses in the system, with the exception of UT San Antonio because UT San Antonio has already exceeded its capacity.  With respect to the planned increase of 1000 students over the current 5600 undergraduate engineering students at UT Austin, which was announced a year ago, he said that there should be plenty of funding available to handle this increase.  How is UT Austin going to fund at current levels a prorated increase in faculty positions, teaching assistantships, advising staff, IT staff, etc., to accommodate an increase in university-wide undergraduate enrollment at UT Austin in general and an increase in undergraduate engineering students in particular?  What source of funds was the chancellor referring to?
    2. With the widespread use of course instructor survey results in tenure, promotion, merit raises and other faculty evaluations, it is important to have accurate tabulation of the surveys. In several courses last semester, nearly half of the completed course instructor surveys in paper form were rejected because they were filled out using ink. Could we purchase scanners of the course instructor surveys that can scan these forms when completed in pencil or ink?

  3. Questions submitted by Professor Alberto Martinez (history), April 28, 2014.
    Dear President Powers, 

    I have two questions about the budget.

    First, despite some efforts I have not yet understood your statement that "UT Austin's budget was reduced by $92 million for the biennium" of 2011-2013, by the Legislature:

    According to the State Reports of the Biennial Appropriations Bills, in 2009-2011 the General Revenue Fund contributed $571 million ($285.7 M + $285.3 M) to UT Austin, while in 2011-2013 it contributed $492 million ($247.4 M + $245 M). Thus state General Revenue Fund seems to have decreased by almost $78.5 million for that period. This number differs from the quoted $92 million; what's missing? (e.g., calculating in 2011 dollars does not give me that figure either, so I think I'm missing something.)       

    Second, appropriations to UT Austin increased in the biennium of 2009-2011 by $34 million and they increased again in the biennium of 2013-2015 by $32.5 million. Likewise, for most years appropriations have usually increased, although they have not kept up with the rate of inflation. Given the constraints of funding and inflation, I do not understand UT's growth rate over the past 13 years. Since September 2000, FTE faculty appointments have grown by almost 21% (from 2,027 to 2,446). In that same time frame, the number of students has grown by 4% (from 49,996 to 52,059). And the funding for the Instructional Administration has grown by 307% (from $14 million to $57 million, unadjusted for inflation, but far exceeding inflation). For years, the main solution has been to lay off hundreds of staff workers in order to reallocate funds. Is there any way to control UT's growth rate so that our dedicated and efficient staff need not be sacrificed to compensate operational deficits?

    Thank you--

    Alberto Martinez
    Associate Professor, Department of History

    Additional references for members of Faculty Council: